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Justin Verlander finally recorded his first strikeout in July

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Justin Verlander snapped an unusual streak on Saturday evening when he whiffed the Indians’ Bradley Zimmer to end the fourth inning. The strikeout was Verlander’s first of the month, following a rare strikeout-free appearance against the Indians last Sunday. Until Zimmer’s three-pitch strikeout, the Tigers’ right-hander had faced 41 straight batters without fanning a single one, a streak that dated back to the sixth inning of his start on June 27.

Given the way Verlander pitched the rest of the night, however, it’s unlikely that there’s any significant cause for concern. He touched 98 m.p.h. with his fastball and held the Indians scoreless through four innings, eventually giving up a run on Michael Brantley‘s RBI double in the fifth. His lone strikeout to Zimmer seemed to open the floodgates, and he exited in the seventh inning after issuing six hits, four walks and six strikeouts.

It’s been an uncharacteristically rough season for the 34-year-old, who’s coming off of a Cy Young-worthy campaign in 2016. He entered Saturday with a 4.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 through 98 innings, and his 92 strikeouts are only good for 24th-most among qualified major league starters — just 162 shy of the league-leading mark he set last year. While he’s struggled to produce the sub-4.00 ERA of seasons past, Verlander is still drawing substantial interest around the league and is expected to command a hefty return should the Tigers decide to push forward with their rebuild this summer. He’ll look to bounce back in the second half when he returns to the mound in the next couple of weeks.

Report: A’s trying to finish deal for Jeurys Familia

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The Athletics appear to be closing in on a deal for Mets’ right-hander Jeurys Familia, according to reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Nothing has been finalized just yet, however, as the Mets confirmed that they would not be announcing a trade tonight and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out that other teams may still be in the mix for Familia’s services. It’s not clear what the A’s would be giving up in any potential deal for the reliever.

Familia, 28, has been pitching well this season. He currently sports a 2.88 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 through 40 2/3 innings — across-the-board improvements from his last run with the Mets in 2017 — and has racked up 17 saves to boot. He’s due another $3 million for the remainder of 2018, and Rosenthal adds that the club is willing to throw some cash in the deal in order to guarantee a better return for the closer.

While the A’s have one of the better bullpens in the American League, sitting seventh-best with a 3.50 ERA and 2.8 fWAR, they still have a ways to go in order to overtake the Mariners and Astros for a postseason berth by season’s end. Familia’s contract expires at the end of the year, but he should provide enough short-term value to give the A’s the boost they need.